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Plant right tree in the right place

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The rebuttal.

Thank you Louise.

Plant right tree in the right place

The Virginia Urban Forest Council, known also as Trees Virginia, would like to take an opportunity to broaden the scope of the article “Appalachian ready to take it to the trees,” (Aug. 20). Trees and overhead utilities have had a long history of conflicts, but we do believe there are solutions.

Our appetite for uninterrupted electric service will not abate any time soon, but does that mean trees and utilities cannot coexist? The two not only can coexist, but they must for the quality of life our communities draw from a mature tree cover.

Over the past two decades, trees have been evaluated and quantified as to the many benefits they provide. By capturing rainwater, trees defer the cost of building stormwater facilities. They clean the air of the harsh pollutants that are overwhelming our towns and cities. They shade our homes in summer and block winter winds to help us save energy on our individual utility bills. On a community scale, trees help to reduce the heat-island effect, which simply means to lower the temperature spike that large expanses of concrete and asphalt tend to elevate.

In some cases where the gray infrastructure, or built environment, is not properly designed into the green infrastructure, or natural elements, and vice versa, there may be conflicts. The adage “right tree in the right place” is the keystone for where we plant trees to allow them to coexist with our utilities. In our efforts to beautify our property, we tend not to look up to see these potential conflicts. We can still plant trees and receive their many benefits, but we need to think in terms of smaller trees in these locations.

We need to have both large and small trees planted and maintained in our communities to maximize their benefits. Science has shown that large trees offer significantly more benefits than small trees, but planting these larger trees requires adequate space for both their roots and their canopies. With proper tree selection, we can avoid many of the power outage problems that occur today. Of course, nature does its own task of tree planting in places not intended, and this maintenance cost must be incurred. Just like mowing a lawn, weeding a garden or painting a house, nature has effects that must be adjusted for in keeping with our modern way of life.

We understand that the immediate problem is to deal with the current set of circumstances that have led Appalachian Power Co. to the proposal for this study. Will power reliability be improved by cycle pruning?

The study may show that it will, but Trees Virginia believes the cycle pruning study will address only the current problem. To truly build a sustainable solution for the future, there is a need for an aggressive public outreach and educational campaign that Trees Virginia has and is willing to tackle in partnership with Appalachian and other utility companies.


Written by vaphc

September 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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